Evaluation of Critical Habitat for the California red-legged frog (Rana aurora draytonii)
The recovery plan for the California red-legged frog was reviewed. There are two main elements for our region in southern California. The first is the designation of critical habitat for recovery of this species. We suggest that the criteria for designation of critical habitat should be explicitly defined and listed. The map boundaries should then result from those criteria. This would reduce the maps to those specific areas with habitat in which recovery efforts could be made. Requiring large regions to await evaluation on an individual project basis undermines the support for the ESA and creates controversy where likely none should exist. The second element is restoration of the populations. While we support this effort, we are concerned with the use of extensive substrate disturbance in the survey for exotic pest species and the restrictive use of a single “genotype” used in recovery. Instead of seining to remove pests, we recommend careful evaluation of the literature with targeted research toward the different pests. We further suggest that having both Baja and LA populations is probably more appropriate and provides a better chance for having a survivable population.